Report Card: Netflix’s Pledge to Women Creators
Earlier this year, Netflix vowed to “make room” for diversity in a heartfelt campaign starring Uzo Aduba. The ad ends with the words “More room. More stories. More voices.” But in a recent slew of Netflix Originals cancellations, women creators seem to be getting the short end of the stick. In a move that reminded some of The Get Down (an inclusive fan-favorite canceled after just one season), the cancellation of shows like Marvel’s Jessica Jones, The OA, and Tuca & Bertie have left many subscribers upset. Why is Netflix canceling these totally binge-able shows? And why have the majority of shows canceled this year been women-led and created? Netflix does not share viewer demographic data, so we can’t really know why these shows were canned, but we deserve to know. Though Netflix has canceled several high-profile shows created by women, they still offer excellent content created by and featuring women.
Netflix likes to keep most of its strategy under wraps, yet it seems obvious that the streaming giant is becoming more budget-conscious on original content. Some critics also speculate that there’s a bias in the company’s recommendations algorithm—targeting and excluding some viewers based on race—which isn’t properly promoting some series. Lisa Hanawalt, the creator of Tuca & Bertie, said she had trouble finding her own show on the platform. With the ratio of women-made series already unfavorably low at Netflix (only ten Netflix Originals are created or co-created by women), these “quirks” and systemic biases against women content creators aren’t making the path to “making more room for women” very easy.
Enjoy these five women-created shows on Netflix—while you still can!
Russian Doll—Emmy-nominated actress Natasha Lyonne stars in this comedy-drama series as Nadia, a young woman who is on a journey to be the guest of honor at a party in New York City. But she gets caught in a mysterious loop as she repeatedly attends the same event and dies at the end of the night each time, only to awaken the next day unharmed as if nothing had happened.
Dead to Me—This dark comedy, which explores grief, loss, and forgiveness. It tells the story of a powerful female friendship between Jen Harding (Christina Applegate) and Judy Hale (Linda Cardellini) as Jen grieves the loss of her husband. Nothing can prepare you for the twists and turns of this unique show.
Dear White People—This popular film turned tv show follows the life of student Samantha White and her friend group as they navigate racism at an Ivy League institution.
Grace and Frankie—For as long as they can recall, Grace (Jane Fonda) and Frankie (Lily Tomlin) have been rivals. Their one-upmanship comes crashing to a halt, however, when they learn that their husbands have fallen in love with each other and want to get married. As everything around the ladies is coming apart, the only thing they can really rely on is each other.
Derry Girls—This show follows Erin and her friends as they grow up in a world of armed police in armored Land Rovers and British Army check-points in 1990s Northern Ireland.
Take Action! Add these female-led shows to your watchlist and spread the word to your binge-watching buddies.